LONDON, Ohio —While admission to Farm Science Review, Sept. 18-20 near London, costs $8 at the gate, visitors can learn some valuable lessons as they walk from the parking lot to the main grounds before they even redeem their ticket.
The Ohio State University Extension Agronomic Crops Team will once again have a series of crop demonstration plots established outside the eastern edge of the Review exhibit area, between the main grounds and the parking lot. The plots are just outside Gate C near the main entrance gate, said Harold Watters, OSU Extension field specialist for agronomic systems.
“I like to say we are the free part of the show, as you don't actually need a ticket to talk to us and to view all of the agronomy demos,” Watters said. “We are the first people to welcome visitors to the Farm Science Review.
“We probably influence decisions of $15 to $20 per acre for every row crop attendee who walks through the gate.”
The agronomy plots are targeted at corn and soybean growers. Certified Crop Adviser education credits also are available, so CCAs who work with corn and soybean growers are encouraged to stop too, he said.
The crops were chosen based on conversations Ohio growers had with members of the OSU Extension Agronomic Crops Team. The plot areas include: soybean weed management, soybean pest management, soybean genetics, maximizing soybean yield, corn genetics and the development of hybrids, corn planting population, corn and nutrient management, corn under poor planting conditions, manure and commercial fertilizer application, corn planted into cover crops, and bioenergy crops.
“The last plot to the east is the bioenergy crop demos,” Watters said. “We look at willow trees, switchgrass, sweet sorghum and even corn, which is still the biggest bioenergy crop in Ohio due to ethanol production.”
For those interested in the original develop of corn and soybean crops, one plot includes the wild ancestor of the soybean — Glycine soja.
“I have Teosinte, the wild progenitor of corn, and then gourdseed corn and flint corn,” Watters said. “These two were crossed by accident to create dent corn in the form of Reid's yellow dent, which makes up 50 percent of modern corn hybrids.”
Watters expects some discussion to focus on this year’s drought conditions.
“The Review plots have suffered through much of the drought that the rest of Ohio has faced,” he said. “We have spider mites, short corn, etc.
“We'll discuss Ohio’s 2012 crop conditions with almost every demonstration plot.”
The Agronomy Plots will be open all three days of Review. OSU Extension Agronomic Crops Team members will be there from 8 a.m. to close each day. Aside from Watters, team members will include Amanda Meddles, agriculture and natural resources educator at the Union County office of OSU Extension; Greg LaBarge and Steve Prochaska, OSU Extension field specialists for agronomic systems; and Farm Science Review staff, including Nate Douridas.
“We'll be available for discussion and for plot tours as people stop,” Watters said. “While these are demonstration plots, many of these same treatments are in research sites across Ohio.
“For some we have answers on what results we'll expect, but for others we'll know more at the end of the year.”
The key points Watters hopes visitors will walk away with are to choose good, well adapted genetics; identify and control pests; strive to find ways to increase yield; manage crops with the least environmental impact; and watch the economics.
“Even at $8 corn and $16 soybeans, don't squirt on something just because ‘they say it helps,’” he said. “Make those investments count.”
In addition to the Agronomy Plots, the Agronomic Crops Team will have a presence at OSU Central in the Extension Education & Research Tent, at the center of the Review’s main exhibit area.
Farm Science Review is sponsored by the Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences, OSU Extension, and the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center. Pre-show tickets are $5 at all OSU Extension county offices. Tickets are also available at local agribusinesses. Tickets are $8 at the gate. Children 5 and younger are admitted free. Hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sept. 18-19 and 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sept. 20.